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Friday, March 16, 2018

Remembering Eugene Schieffelin ETC

The photograph atop this entry is of a statute in Central Park that is in very close proximity to Delacorte Clock — named after philanthropist George T. Delacorte.

According to a web-page, it "is one of the most beloved monuments in the parks of New York City, this musical clock hovers above the arcade between the Wildlife Center and the Children's Zoo."

The aforementioned page goes on to say that "Delacorte conceived of the clock as a modern version of belfries in churches and city halls dating back to the Middle Ages....

... and designer Fernando Texidor collaborated with architect Edward Coe Embury (son of the 1934 zoo’s designer, Aymar Embury II) to create a brick arcaded bridge between the Monkey House (now the Zoo School) and the main Central Park Zoo quadrangle to house the clock and its animal sculpture carousel. Italian sculptor Andrea Spadini (1912–1983) crafted the whimsical bronze sculptures, which depict a penguin, kangaroo, bear, elephant, goat, and hippo parading with a variety of musical instruments as well as two monkeys with mallets that strike the bell."

This page also explains that "Each day between eight in the morning and six in the evening, the clock--now digitally programmed--plays one of thirty-two nursery rhyme tunes on the hour. On the half-hour, the mechanical performance is a bit shorter. The animals rotate on a track around the clock and each also turns on an axis."

I came upon it the clock this afternoon when walking with a friend. I've seen it on many occasions as but in all my years of living in NYC, I've rarely arrived at the clock just as it is about to "perform."

The following set of photos feature some of the animals featured in the Delacorte Clock (I was able to capture an image of each of them except the goat):

A penguin playing a drum:

A kangaroo playing a horn:

A bear playing a tambourine:

An elephant playing a concertina:

And a hippo playing a violin:

The clock is located near the sixty-fourth and Fifth Avenue entrance to Central Park, which is not to far from where another "donor" to the park lived.

One hundred and twenty eight years ago on this day of March 16th, an eccentric wealthy man known by the name of Eugene Schieffelin, who lived one block north and one block east of this entrance to the park brought in an entourage of European starlings from England and released them near the Delacorte Theatre, which is a bit north west of the clock.

 Schieffelin supposedly did this because he "hoped to bring into the U.S. all the birds Shakespeare mentioned that were not native to North America," which is something that I've written about in prior posts on Blogger, including one which you may reference by clicking here.

In the aforementioned post, I include this quote: "If he could have foreseen the results he might very well have made an exception in the case of the starling. For there are now more starlings in the U.S. than almost any other species, and all the evidence indicates they will soon be the most numerous birds in the land."

Be that as it may on this anniversary of the European starling come to Central Park, I did not see any, which is rare. I did see a molting cardinal, a pigeon perching on a bench, as well as an array of ducks all are pictured below (respectively):


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